Nearly every household has a ‘substantial’ home asset, says PM Lee - report

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers National Day Rally speech on 19 August 2018 at ITE Central in Ang Mo Kio.

The government’s housing policy has allowed every Singaporean to have a share in the country’s economic growth, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (24 August), according to a report by Channel NewsAsia.

Speaking at the launch of the book “Critical Issues in Asset Building in Singapore’s Development”, Lee said pursuing home ownership has long been a key national policy for the government.

“It enables every Singaporean to share in our economic growth, because as the economy grows, so will the value of your home,” Lee said, according to the report.

“And nearly every household has a substantial asset to its name, even low-income households.”

At the National Day Rally (NDR) 2018 last Sunday, Lee spoke at length about the hot topic of public housing. In his NDR speech, he said the “fundamental reason” that leases for HDB flats run for 99 years after which homeowners must return their flats to the state is that Singapore has to be fair to future generations.

“This is the only way to recycle the land and ensure that all our descendants can buy new BTO (Build To Order) flats of their own,” Lee said then at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Central.

Addressing the issue again Friday, Lee said he found the argument of commentators that the 99-year lease is just an extended rental as “frankly, amazing”.

“Many private properties are held on 99-year leases too, yet nobody argues that they are merely being rented,” he added.

“HDB lessees have all the rights over their flats that owners of such leasehold private properties have.”

At the NDR, Lee unveiled several new housing policies including allowing eligible flats to be upgraded twice over their lifespan and letting more HDB flat owners to benefit from redevelopment before leases expire.

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NDR 2018: HDB flats leased for 99 years to prevent social division, says PM Lee

NDR 2018: Eligible HDB flats to be upgraded twice over their lifespan

NDR 2018: More HDB flat owners to benefit from redevelopment before leases expire